Journal Article

Regional variation in maturation of sandeels in the North Sea

Philip Boulcott, Peter J. Wright, Fiona M. Gibb, Henrik Jensen and Iain M. Gibb

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 64, issue 2, pages 369-376
Published in print March 2007 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online December 2006 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
Regional variation in maturation of sandeels in the North Sea

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Boulcott, P., Wright, P. J., Gibb, F. M., Jensen, H., and Gibb, I. M. 2007. Regional variation in maturation of sandeels in the North Sea. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 64: 369–376.

The current assessment of lesser sandeel (Ammodytes marinus) in the North Sea assumes a single stock and a knife-edge maturity ogive. However, there is evidence that the North Sea stock consists of several reproductively isolated components, raising the possibility of demographic differences among regional aggregations. We examine regional variation in size- and age-at-maturity in four components of the North Sea stock. Surveys in 1999 indicated pronounced regional differences in length- and weight-at-age, implying a disparity in growth rate across the North Sea. Logistic regression revealed that the onset of maturity was significantly related to regional distribution, in addition to length and age, with a tendency for fish off the UK's northeast coast to mature later and smaller than elsewhere. No significant effect of year on either growth or length-at-maturity was revealed from a comparison with other data collected in 2004. The results show that important regional phenotypic variation not currently represented in stock assessments could have implications for the local sustainability of sandeel aggregations.

Keywords: Ammodytes marinus; fecundity; maturation; reproduction; sandeel; stock management

Journal Article.  6432 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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